Renault is targeting a market share of 5% in India by the end of 2017. The Kwid plays an important role in achieving that target. We first saw the Kwid concept at the 2014 Auto Expo. It created a real buzz with its futuristic mars rover like styling. While the production version may not be the same, you can see clear design cues were picked up from the concept. The Kwid is basically a hatchback on stilts. It would be a sin to call it an SUV. We wouldn’t really call it a cross over either. It has muscular lines running through and the black plastic cladding further makes it feel like an SUV. Some would say someone put the Duster on 70% in the copier. We love the styling and is one of the freshest looking cars. You could call the Kwid a truly global car. It’s been designed at Renault’s design centre in Mumbai with inputs from Korea, France & Japan. Each country contributed in the department that they’re best in to get this car up and running. They have really tried hard to keep the price in check with this one, and they’ve pulled off 98% localization with the Kwid. This means almost all parts are manufactured in India. This is good news for the buyer because importing components attract a heavy duty. No wonder they’ve got the pricing right! It also boasts the highest fuel economy of 25.17kmpl (ARAI)! A pretty sweet deal we feel!
1.0-litre engine is peppy. Optional AMT is a boon inside the city.
Boot space is a humongous 300-litres (Alto = 177-litres)
Spacious cabin compared to contemporaries, can seat four adults comfortably.
SUV inspired styling. The cladding and muscular elements makes it look like nothing else in the segment.
The engine is noisy and vibrations unpalatable.
ABS option not available even on the top-end variant.
Interiors reek of cost cutting. Quality of materials could have been better.
Best suited for city use alone. Runs out of breath on the highway.
Stand Out Features
Touch Screen MediaNav system is the Best in class.
Digital Instrument Cluster is funky with a host of read outs that have never before been seen on in the segment. Shows distance to empty average & and real-time fuel consumption too!
The Kwid is amongst the best options in the segment. As an overall package, it provides distinctive styling, good driving performance and a good list of accessories. It also beats its competitors in terms of interior space and fuel economy.
"The KWIDs SUV inspired styling is sure to win your heart. The well equipped interior is the cherry on the cake."
The only thing that Renault needs to do is provide exceptional service and after-sales service and be able to put up with the demand. Maruti Suzuki Alto, you have finally met your match!
Renault is the first to introduce an SUV feel to the entry level hatch. It looks fresh compared to the already aged looking Alto. The tall stance & beefed up black plastic wheel arches add to the SUV appeal.
On the front, the grill has a futuristic pattern. The only chrome on the front is the diamond Renault logo. If you love the chrome, the honeycomb grill can be customised. Renault is offering a whole deal of customisation options to make your Kwid a one off on the road.
The bumper gets some bulges to add muscle and houses round fog lamps. The small air dam at the bottom continues to get the same styling as the grill.
The car isn’t too tall and the side is characterised by a high window line and large windows. The black slats at the bottom are not plastic but merely a vinyl sticker. You can upgrade to a plastic cladding from the accessories option at the dealership level.
The car sits on 13-inch rims and 155mm rubber with just 3 lug nuts to fasten them. We feel 4 bolts would have given them a better appeal. Three lug nuts take our minds directly to the Tata Nano. The Eon offers a similar tyre & rim combination, while the Nano and the Alto 800 offer thinner 135 & 145 mm tyres on 12 inch rims.
The outside mirror and door handles are conventional units and done in black. The plastic quality is a bit of a let-down and the mirrors are not adjustable from the inside, something that is provided on the Alto 800. The side turn indicator bulbs are mounted on the front wheel arch. You will find the variant badging on the side behind the rear window.
At the back, badging is minimalistic. The tail lamps are a basic affair. The Renault and Kwid badges take centre stage on the tail, while a small Renault badge sits on the left. The bottom part of the bumper gets black cladding as standard.
At the top, the roof houses a U shaped depression. This is to increase the rigidity and compensate for the thinner sheet metal used. All variants get an integrated roof spoiler which adds character. Along with this you get a long antenna FM antenna. You can also get roof rails from the accessories store at the dealership.
The Kwid gets only a single wiper on the front and no option for a rear wiper. It’s a cost cutting feature, but, it does do the job in covering most of the windshield area with every swipe. This mist function is only available from the top end (RXT) variant. This sprays a small mist of washer fluid instead of a stream followed by a quick swipe by the wiper. None of the cars in the segment offer this function.
In terms of dimensions, the Kwid is amongst the longest in its class at 3679mm. The ground clearance is again top notch at 180mm which is good for the speed breakers, but this gives the car a feeling as if it’s on stilts. The wheel base stands at 2422mm. This is higher than the Eon & the Alto. The kerb weight tips the scales at 660kgs which is almost 50kgs lighter than the Nano! It also boasts of best in class boot space at 300 litres.
We love the aggressive SUV-like styling of the KWID and it is well proportioned. We’re sure it’ll be well received in the market too with the trend changing from hatchbacks to crossovers and SUVs.
Datsun Redi GO
Ground Clearance (mm)
Wheel Base (mm)
Kerb Weight (kg)
Boot Space Comparison
Datsun Redi GO
Maruti Alto 800
With a price tag like the Kwid, we expect that you would have to compromise somewhere. The interior usually takes the brunt when heavy cost cutting is involved. That is not true with the Kwid. The designers have made sure there have been no compromises with anything that the driver will use on a day to day basis. The quality of plastics however, will be a bit of a let down.
As soon as you enter, the Kwid the first to thing to catch your eye is the 7” touchscreen infotainment system, borrowed from the Duster. The system is surrounded by a piano black bezel and a touch of chrome as a contrast to the single tone grey dash. This system gives you navigation, USB, aux and Bluetooth connectivity. This is the only car in the segment which provides an option for a factory fitted touch screen infotainment system.
The air con functions are housed below the infotainment system. The knobs get a chrome garnish and feel good to use. The air vents on either end are round with chrome inserts and the ones on the centre are rectangular with the knobs getting a bit of chrome. All can be shut independently. The low-end variant, however, doesn’t get air conditioning.
Buttons for hazard lights, power windows and central locking are placed below. A clear cost saving step so that they didn’t have to put a switch each on the driver and passenger’s side. They are equally accessible by both. There is a mystery empty round space. Whisper is that this is where the AMT (Automatic Manual Transmission) knob will be. We have our fingers crossed!
Below this console and ahead of the gear stick lies the cup holders and a 12v charging point. You get a small cubby between the handbrake and the gear stick. A standard affair really.
From the driver’s point of view, you get a nice little steering wheel. It's good to hold and stylish to look at. Push the key into the ignition and you find out that the Kwid is not a one trick pony with the infotainment system. The orange illuminated instrument cluster is a class above! It gets a neat read out of the speed and a small strip that displays a host of readouts. It shows the odometer, distance to empty, a trip meter, real-time fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, distance travelled, trip fuel consumption and average speed as well. All these read outs can be alternated by pressing the reset button which is housed near the fuel read out.
The headlight and indicator stalks are easy to access from the steering wheel. It has a lane change feature. On a small tap, it blinks the indicator thrice and shuts off on its own.
On the passenger side, there are two glove boxes. The one on the top gets a cut out to hold a water bottle. The glove box at the bottom is large too! Again, there is an open storage shelf between the two.
The front speakers are mounted on either end of the dash. The sound quality is okay-ish. You won’t be able to blast bass heavy music from these. Music aficionados will want to upgrade.
The front seats get a triple tone red – grey – black upholstery. The headrests are fixed and not adjustable. The seats are more comfortable than the Alto and offer more space with good under thigh support.
Moving to the back, it’s clearly the winner compared to the Alto & the Eon. Tall people are more comfortable here compared to when sitting in the competition. Three abreast would fit in but would be uncomfortable. Two would be perfect at the back. The rear seats get a similar triple tone upholstery as the front. The seats lack contours and the cushion used in comfortable. Seating is fairly high which gives a good view.
The seat belts, however, are non-retractable and looks like an afterthought. You constantly have to keep pushing them back in before closing the door. They also make the rear look messy. The rear windows don’t get power windows either; you have to manually wind them. We were hoping for an option at the higher variants at least.
Moving to the back, you have to access the boot by using the knob under the front seat or by the key. The boot space is HUGE! The 300-litre boot is one of the best, not only in its entry-level segment but a few segments above it as well. If this doesn’t fill your appetite for space, the rear seats fall absolutely flat giving all the space you will ever need.
Our final verdict of the interiors: you get a lot of features for your money! Renault has tastefully done the interiors (on a budget) so that it doesn’t hamper with your experience when you spend time inside the car.
The engine on the Kwid is an all new 800cc unit. Point to be noted, 50% of the total development cost of the Kwid was diverted towards the development of the engine. With such high focus towards the engine, Renault has ended up developing the most fuel efficient petrol engine in India! ARAI ratings stand at 25.17kmpl. In comparison, ARAI ratings for the Alto stands at 22.74kmpl and Eon at 21.1kmpl.
The 3-cylinder unit develops 54PS of power and 72Nm of torque, and is paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox only. The engine feels comfortable with a couple of people in the vehicle, but load it with passengers and some luggage - it does tend to struggle. The engine is meant to be a city slicker, so do not expect outright performance. It does just enough to take one from point A to point B without too much drama.
The sour point? Well, it isn’t the most refined motor around. Other than the inevitable three-cylinder drone, the engine fails to keep its voice down. This becomes even more apparent when you get to the upper half of the rev range. The Alto and the Eon, in comparison, are much quieter both at idle, and on the move.
The 1.0-litre motor is available in the top-spec RXT and RXT (O) variants only, and shares its architecture with the 0.8-litre unit. Renault has increased the bore and stroke of the smaller engine to achieve the bigger displacement, and strengthened the drive shaft to account for the added power. The added 14PS of power doesn’t make itself apparent right away. However, you do feel that the Kwid feels much more composed and relaxed as it gathers pace. Expectedly, highway performance is much better and the engine doesn’t feel strained doing triple digit speeds. But, it isn’t too different from its 0.8-litre in terms of noise, vibration and harshness. It is equally vocal, and sounds gruff when driven hard.
Where the 0.8-litre engine keeps you wanting for a bit more grunt every now and then, the 1.0 feels just right. It complements the Kwid’s city characteristics much better, and is our pick of the lot.
1.0 SCe AMT
To take on the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 AGS, Renault introduced the AMT variant of the Kwid. The two-pedal version costs Rs 30,000 over its manual counterpart. For the convenience it offers, the Kwid ‘Easy-R’ does justify the extra price.
The AMT is among the best we’ve driven in the budget segment, and shift shocks are minimal. The gearbox picks up throttle inputs reasonably well and makes progress swiftly. We do not like the fact that the Kwid AMT does not get a creep function, which we think would’ve made intra-city commutes even easier. Secondly, since it gets a funky rotary dial on the dash to select gears, there’s no manual mode that you can call upon to take control yourself. That said, the gearbox figures out the right gear almost every single time (albeit with a slight lag), so you wouldn’t really miss it on a day to day basis.
Performance Comparison (Petrol)
Maruti Alto 800
Datsun Redi GO
Engine Displacement (cc)
Top Speed (kmph)
0-100 Acceleration (sec)
Kerb Weight (kg)
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI)
Power Weight Ratio
Ride & Handling
Renault has always been known to offer great ride and handling with its Duster and Lodgy. This trait is clearly visible on the Kwid too. Being a city car, the suspension has been set up on the soft side. It takes pot holes and the occasional kaccha roads really well. The higher ground clearance translates to body rolls on tight corners. It still is fun to chuck about as the handling is predictable. The drawback is the large 5m turning radius. In comparison, the Alto 800 gets a shorter 4.6m turning radius. Getting in and out of tight spaces with the Kwid will lead to a little extra effort.
The brakes have adequate bite and gets the car to a halt without any fuss. That said, the Kwid is best suited for a relaxed driving style rather than a spirited one. Braking really hard will cause the front-wheels to lock up since there’s no ABS.
In terms of steering, the unit is light at low speeds continues to be so at high speeds which is a bit of a let-down.
Overall, keep the car in the city and below 100kmph and you will have nothing to complain about.
In terms of safety features, the Kwid gets an option for a single driver side airbag on the top-end (RXT-O) variant. We would have loved for an option to have a passenger side airbag too. The other set back is the lack of ABS on any variant. When crash tested, both the Variants of the Kwid (With & without airbags) scored zero stars.
The base variant (STD) is the most stripped out version. You get no power steering or AC. The next (RXE) variant gets an AC with few other features, but no power steering again. This can be quite tiring to drive. The 2 din entertainment system is an optional extra on this trim.
The mid-level RXL has an electronic power steering and offers the most value in terms of providing the minimum amount of features required for a decent commute. The 7” infotainment system is available only on the top-end (RXT) variant. This variant also comes with front power windows and fog lamps. This variant suits best for people who are ready to splurge a bit on the Kwid as their 2nd car for city commuting. The driver side airbag, however, is an option.
We recommend buying the variant mid-spec (RXL) as we feel it gives you most value for money. But if you want the touchscreen feature and the airbag, you will have to upgrade to the RXT-O variant.